Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Monday, February 12, 2018


I'm blessed to see this review by Joey Madia (published in New Mystics Review and Literary Aficionado) of MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION (MDR).  You can see entire review HERE, but here's an excerpt:
After nine years of reviewing her poetry, I see the MDR work as a Culmination rather than a divergence or some (mere) experiment in recycled language. Comparisons can be made to the “cut-up” work of William Burroughs or even Philip K. Dick’s use of the I Ching to generate storylines and character choices, but they will ultimately fall short. Very much in line with Tabios’s previous work on the Filipino Diaspora, the MDR is an expression of taking back language through breaking it down. Briefly, this is a response to colonialism and American imperialism. Fittingly enough to mention here, I am preparing to do a Chautauqua tour as Ernesto “Che” Guevara in mid-2019, so I am living daily with the reality of what American colonialism and imperialism have done to the Philippines and Latin and Central America. Politics hinges on language (Rhetorical Studies is obsessed with this). Slang, jargon, and such art forms as Rap are expressions of this as well. An interesting aspect of this is the notion of “Babaylan” poetics, which (quite shamanically) states that everything is connected and in harmony, no matter how different it may seem.... Murder, Death, Resurrection is the latest reason why Eileen Tabios is one of the most important poets working today.


What I love about Joey Madia's review is that it shows what I had hoped would happen with MDR -- that to read the book inevitably means that the reader write a new poem(s). Joey Madia did with his poem "Echoes of Mortar and Brick" (which you can see HERE) .... and, relatedly, a poet-reader Mike Gullickson did the same thing! He wrote his poem by reading through MDR's database of poetic lines until "a line strikes him." Here's one of his two-poem results:


Your favorite color
is water you say.
It's clear to me
that in a clean glass
I can see right through you.

My favorite color
is blue, of course,from staring at
the sky horizontally, of course
a favorite time of childhood.
I know it's an illusion
particles of dust
skin flakes
smoke from Auschwitz
still in the air
                                         so we won't forget.

My poetry--never been about me but about you. I hope you'll have a chance to read MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION. Hopefully it'll resuscitate a poem you hadn't known was within you.

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